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Trade Association Relocating To Downtown D.C. With 60K SF Lease

An exterior rendering of the 1201 New York Ave. renovation

A newly renovated Downtown D.C. office building has landed a tenant moving from Southwest D.C., a rare example of a relocation deal closing in what has become a historically weak office market. 

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization signed a nearly 61K SF lease at 1201 New York Ave. NW, a 13-story office building owned by Pembroke Real Estate, according to JLL

The trade association representing biotechnology companies plans to relocate from its building in The Portals complex at 1201 Maryland Ave. SW, where it occupies 67K SF.

JLL's Amy Bowser represented Pembroke in the deal. Pembroke declined to comment.

CBRE's Manny Fitzgerald, Susan Thomas and Brian Smith represented BIO in the deal, the brokerage firm announced Tuesday afternoon in a release that included comment from BIO Chief Operating Officer Shaye Mandle.  

"The new BIO headquarters will serve as an inspiration for the future of innovation and our industries, while providing our members with the comforts and experience of home while in Washington," Mandle said in the release. 

The 430K SF building at 1201 New York Ave. NW was built in 1989. It sits across the street from CityCenterDC, 3 blocks from Metro Center and 4 blocks from the White House.

Pembroke acquired the building in 2006. Multiple large tenants eventually vacated, including the Corporation for National and Community Service leaving its 110K SF space in 2015 and the Department of Homeland Security departing its two-floor space in 2019. 

In anticipation of the DHS exit, Pembroke launched a major renovation of the building in 2017. It installed new floor-to-ceiling glass windows, created a 13-story glass atrium above the two-floor lobby, and it added an indoor-outdoor rooftop amenity space and a fitness center. It completed the renovation last year. A Pembroke spokesperson declined to comment.

The BIO relocation deal, which closed in February, comes as the market has continued to experience slow leasing activity since the coronavirus pandemic began. According to a new JLL report, the District recorded 1.98M SF of negative absorption in Q1, and its office vacancy rate rose from 15.8% to 17.4%. 

"Those types of leases have been few and far between," JLL Senior Research Director Michael Hartnett said of the BIO deal. "We do think there are some signs of positive momentum."

UPDATE, MARCH 30, 5:55 P.M. ET: This story has been updated to include CBRE's involvement in the deal and a statement from BIO.